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Training teachers to integrate engineering into non-technical middle school curriculum

Abstract

The Arts & Bots Math and Science Partnership program integrates creative technological fluency projects as transdisciplinary activities into non-technical courses, creating a pathway for students of all abilities and areas of interests to engage with engineering and computing. The Professional Development provided by the program prepares teachers from traditional disciplines, such as English, History or Science, to integrate robotics projects into disciplinary classrooms, and aims to promote teacher skill, confidence, and self-efficacy in the design and classroom implementation of robotics design projects.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship under Grant No. (0946825) and the NSF Math and Science Partnership program under Grant No. DRL-1321227). This work was supported in part by a Graduate Training Grant awarded to Carnegie Mellon University by the Department of Education (#R305B090023).
The Arts & Bots project has developed and piloted a new program for in-service secondary school teachers. To date, we have trained 38 teachers from a variety of disciplines to implement Arts & Bots robotics design projects in their classrooms. Teacher training integrates experience with robotics kit components, a programming interface, the engineering design process, and recognition of student affinities towards engineering and computer science. We present the development model for our teacher training program as well as preliminary positive results regarding teacher practice and self-efficacy. Data includes teacher surveys, interviews, and class observations. Teacher training has developed over the course of several years, and we discuss how teacher experiences have shaped the development of the program to its current form.

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